Alvaro Siza designs the new Parco delle Cave in Lecce

A new green area in the Apulian city opens to the public, where walls of Lecce stone provide the setting for the Portuguese architect’s project.

In Lecce, the new Parco delle Cave di Marco Vito has finally officially opened to the public. Designed by Alvaro Siza – after winning an international competition organized by the Municipality of Lecce in 2009 – the project stems from the redevelopment of the former Marco Vito quarries, once abandoned and turned into landfills.

The Portuguese architect reuses the available natural scenery by making the rocky walls – historically where the local stone used for the churches and Baroque palaces in the historic center was extracted – the focal point of the space.

Alvaro Siza, Parco delle Cave di Marco Vito, Lecce, Puglia, 2023. Foto © Flavio Massari

The park’s design follows the topography of the area, with large green expanses interspersed with pedestrian paths on stabilized ground, dry stone walls that outline the deep cavity, and native Mediterranean vegetation. The area, located to the south of the city in a zone surrounding the station – spanning approximately seven hectares in total – was originally divided into two parts by a busy road. However, with the project, the park can now be traversed in its entirety thanks to the construction of the Ponte via del Ninfeo (Ninfeo Road Bridge), allowing both vehicles and pedestrians to pass above.

Within its perimeter, the park also encompasses the “Tagliatelle” Farmhouse, an ancient suburban villa dating back to the 16th century. Perched on the rock formation, it is structured into three floors surrounding a central courtyard, recently restored to be used as a place for social interaction and gathering, primarily aimed at the newer generations.

Alvaro Siza, Parco delle Cave di Marco Vito, Lecce, Puglia, 2023. Foto © Flavio Massari

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